Confessions of a Community College Dean

Confessions of a Community College Dean

In which a veteran of cultural studies seminars in the 1990s moves into academic administration and finds himself a married suburban father of two. Foucault, plus lawn care.

January 27, 2008 - 8:37pm
A new and very perceptive correspondent writes: I'm a long-time lurker, writing now in hopes you and your readers can help explain academic funding models (ha!). I'm an ABD in a fairly highly ranked department at a large R1 university. Huge U. funds itsdepartments based on a formula in which the largest factor is the mean of undergraduate course enrollments over the prior small number of years.
January 24, 2008 - 9:52pm
A de-lurking correspondent writes:
January 23, 2008 - 6:53am
Just as public colleges were starting to recover from 2001 recession, the current economic crisis threatens to reverse gains, a new report finds.
January 21, 2008 - 11:01pm
I had a lightbulb moment this weekend. Simply put, there's a basic gap between the dialogue in higher ed, and the dialogue outside higher ed. It goes like this: In higher ed: "It's a shame how adjunct-heavy we've gone. We really need to hire more full-time faculty." Outside higher ed: "Tuition and taxes are too high, and going up too fast. Who do those people think they are?" They're both right.
January 21, 2008 - 5:48am
I can rattle off the many ways in which football is evil, but I still enjoy watching the very occasional game. (Where I grew up, the world was divided fairly clearly into two kinds of people: Buffalo Bills fans, and People Who Are Not From Around Here. I still shudder at the mere mention of the name "Scott Norwood.") Last night I finally got to watch my first game of the season. Last night's highlight reel, with the camera trained on the living room:
January 18, 2008 - 4:52am
Just thinking out loud here... Why isn't it more common to have, say, yearlong faculty exchanges between relatively nearby colleges? "I'll trade you a senior anthropologist for a business prof and a second-round draft pick." The faculty exchanged would be paid by their original institutions, and the time would count toward seniority at their original institutions. It would be restricted to folks with tenure, so there'd be no issue of how to count it on the tenure clock. The costs would be minimal, especially if the program were voluntary (whichit would have to be).
January 16, 2008 - 9:47pm
Thanks to everyone who answered yesterday's call! It helped, actually. Doc made a comment that particularly struck me, and that I didn't want to answer deep in the comments. (Doc is, himself, a former dean.) In drawing a distinction between managers in corporate settings and managers in higher ed, he noted that:
January 15, 2008 - 9:33pm
This one is intended for the faculty, though anyone with constructive ideas is welcome to participate. Think back to (or about) an academic administrator (dean/VPAA) you've liked and respected. What was/is it about that person that won your respect?
January 14, 2008 - 11:14pm
This story in IHE made me laugh out loud. Apparently, a community college in New Jersey briefly floated a policy to encourage "civility" that was anything but civil. The provisions were:
January 13, 2008 - 10:28pm
A new correspondent writes (edited for length and anonymity): [Her daughter] recently learned that the awesome, charismatic, incredible, passionate department head who always teaches [difficult subject] and whose name has been listed all along as scheduled to instruct both terms of the class will not actually be teaching the second term.



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